Google Cloud Next 2019 starts today—Here are the questions we’re asking

Google already affects almost every part of IT; Google Cloud has ambitions to become an enterprise giant, as well.

Google Cloud Next 2019 kicks off today in San Francisco. Recently, this show has become increasingly relevant in the EUC space—just check out our 2018 and 2017 coverage. According to the conference website, today’s keynote will stick to mostly big-picture stuff, with product news coming in tomorrow’s keynote.

For the big picture, all eyes will be on Thomas Kurian, who became CEO of Google Cloud after Diane Greene left in January. (The move was first announced in November.) As CNBC and others reported, apparently Greene clashed with Google, and growth was behind expectations. Kurian promises to be more aggressive.

Either way, this will be the industry’s first big look at Google Cloud under Kurian’s leadership. He plans to increase their sales and marketing spend, so perhaps you’ll be getting a call or a targeted ad soon. For now, we’ll see what notes he strikes.

What we’re looking for at Google Cloud Next 2019

Of course down here in the EUC space, we follow the product news for many Google and Google Cloud products. We have several questions and issues we’re hoping to answer this week.

(Side note: Last year’s Google Cloud Next was in late July, so if you’re comparing things year over year, remember that it’s only been 8.5 months.)

First, what are the latest developments in Google Cloud Identity, their IDaaS and EMM platform? Cloud Identity is a part of G Suite, but also became available as a freestanding product in 2018. It has basic EMM features, but last year they mentioned the idea of macOS and Windows 10 management. One great thing about this platform is that it inherits all of the advanced authentication and identity features from Google and Google Cloud in general.

When it comes to devices and endpoints, we’ve already started to look at Android Q, and frankly, Android Enterprise has been killing it for the last few years. (Okay, so we still have Jason’s Android Enterprise wish list, plus some ideas for education, so we’ll check up on those.) We’ll see what else Google has to say about Q, but we don’t expect any big surprises this week.

We do have some questions about Chrome and Chrome devices, though. We’re curious to see the roadmap for bringing Chrome management closer to Android Enterprise. And, one big problem we see is that Chrome extensions could use a lot of reining in, along the lines of what Android and Play have been doing for the last few years.

Speaking of Chromebooks, their potential use cases just keep growing, but for years we’ve been hearing desktop virtualization vendors talk about supplementing them with remote Windows apps. We’ll be on the lookout for any new partnerships and product offerings, as well as any news related to DaaS offerings hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.

Lastly, in case you haven’t noticed, zero trust and conditional access are trending hardcore in our space. Google’s BeyondCorp concept was out there years before the current wave, so we expect this to be the number-one IT topic for the show.

We have three solid days of sessions, keynotes, and interviews lined up, so we should be able to answer all of these questions and learn much more.

Update, 11:30am: Day 1 Keynote notes

The keynote just wrapped up, and everybody has gotten a first look at the news. Here’s a quick recap of the top items for today:

  • Google Cloud Services Platform, announced last year, is generally available, and now called Anthos. This is their hybrid on-premises and multi-cloud compute platform, and, by far, got the most excitement from the audience.
  • Google announced managed open source offerings in partnership with seven vendors, including Confluent, MongoDB, Elastic, Neo4j, Redis Labs, InfluxData, and Datastax. These will run on GCP, and billing, support, management, and everything else will be completely integrated.
  • They announced a new serverless compute offering called Cloud Run.
  • Plus there are two new GCP data center regions, coming to Seoul and Salt Lake City.

For infrastructure people, this was a big day. For EUC people, again, we expect to see a lot more product news tomorrow.

Now, what type of impression did Thomas Kurian and Google Cloud give for this year? Thomas started off by thanking Diane Greene for her work. Overall, the keynote went smoothly, and he did a fine job holding the audience’s attention. It’s not like we were expecting anything different, but I’m sure for many people, having the whole thing go off without a hitch was a huge relief.

The things that stuck out to me this year were all the partner segments. First, Cisco was on stage, talking about their hybrid architecture for Google Cloud. You don’t get any more enterprise-y than that. Then Sanjay Poonen was up, talking about how VMware would interoperate with Anthos across several product lines, including vSphere, Heptio, and NSX. (Plus EUC even got a mention with Workspace One.)

Towards the end of the keynote, Thomas talked about how they’re going to expand their enterprise go to market, which will include updates to their partner program—something that we know will be worth watching.

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